A successful ‘Ginger Bash’ in Tauranga may be extended as a promotion for other areas of New Zealand plagued by the weed.
Weedbusters wants more people to ‘get mad’ about wild ginger, which has become a major invasive weed for New Zealand.
National Weedbusters Coordinator Carolyn Lewis said ginger was introduced to New Zealand as a garden plant, but was now a significant threat to native plants
“It can reach up to three metres tall, and forms dense clumps in native forests, smothering young plants and stopping the establishment of native seedlings. We have two types – kahili ginger and yellow ginger – now invading our native forests,” she said.
Ms Lewis said the recent ‘Ginger Bash’ in Tauranga had been a tremendous community effort that Weedbusters recommended other regions to adopt in the effort to raise awareness about wild ginger.
“The Ginger Bash was held as part of a month long Sustainable Backyards programme by the Tauranga Environment Centre, with support from Environment Bay of Plenty, the Department of Conservation, the Tauranga City Council and Weedbusters,” Ms Lewis said.
“It showcased a joint approach towards eradicating ginger, and was an impressive and effective promotional effort to improve public awareness and education about ginger.”
Ms Lewis said many people still saw ginger as a pretty garden plant, unaware of the damage it could do in reserves and native bush.
“It came to New Zealand as a garden plant, but it is now a garden escape, causing serious problems in Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Nelson, the general Marlborough area and the West Coast of the South island. It is also present up on the East Coast of the North Island, around Hawkes Bay, where fortunately prompt action has assisted an early containment,” Ms Lewis said.
Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant officer Sara Jane Brill said the Ginger Bash had improved public understanding about wild ginger, which was a huge environmental issue in the riparian areas of Tauranga city.
“The promotion, in the city mall, provided information about ginger in a fun atmosphere. A large tarpaulin was laid out in the city mall with a chopping block, hammers and plenty of ginger roots to bash. The tarpaulin was lined with live weeds, and fact sheets. One table was used for competition entries to encourage people to find out more about the weeds and one for information and give-aways,” she said.
“We found the Ginger Bash was a great way to involve communities in the weeds battle, while having some fun. The promotion is certainly useful in urban areas where land owners may not be aware of the need to control this weed,” Ms Brill said.
“Tauranga Environment Centre’s Urban Greenspace Project care groups are doing a fantastic job in their reserves, removing ginger to help stop reinvasion, but the more the public helps the better.
“The Ginger Bash received great public support, and people in Tauranga now have a greater appreciation of the threat wild ginger presents to our forests and native plants. The Bash also helped people to up-skill in their general weed knowledge.”
Ms Brill said Environment Bay of Plenty was currently working with Tauranga City Council to focus on ginger in private land around the reserves where control work is being done.
“Now is the time to control it before the next generation of seed is available to birds in the next month or two,” Ms Brill said.